On the Kinangop Escarpment

I drove once
down a road
so broken and weary
that it had given up altogether
trying to be a road
and resigned itself
instead to being
a memory of the day
the cars first drove fast
through this quiet village
and the people
stood up from the coolness under
the avocado trees,
came out from the shops
where they sold cornmeal and cigarettes
and warm Coke in glass bottles
to see how the cars sped by
smooth and sleek like the
fish eagle cuts through the wind.

The people did not stand up
when I drove through,
did not need to leave the shade
to watch my car claw its way out of
each pothole, to hear the spin of
my wheels, the rude coughing
of my black exhaust as it
creeped into the open windows
of their shops.

I do not remember
the name of that village
with the no longer road,
but I remember that beyond
the patch of red dirt that spread
beside the crumbled asphalt,
there were wild calla lilies
growing in untended bouquets,
lining the ditches like church aisles.

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